General Information



Student Attendance Policy Q&A

Click on question to view the answer below.

 

Q What will be allowed as an excused absence?

Q What will be considered an unexcused absence?

Q Can students make up work for both excused and unexcused absences?

Q Will students need a doctor's note every time they are absent due to illness?

Q Can students miss school because of a death in the family or other such emergency?
Q What happens if a parent is ill and cannot take their child to school?

Q How do we take family vacations during the school year?

Q Who approved this new attendance policy?

Q Why was this new attendance plan adopted?

Q Is there a district-wide problem with attendance that caused this plan to be adopted?

Q Are tougher academic standards the only reason this plan was adopted?

Q What is the compulsory school attendance law?

Q Can a student lose credit in a class or be retained for too many absences?

Q What happens if a student cannot meet the 90% to receive credit or be promoted?

Q How do I complete the attendance appeals process?

Q How many times do students have to be absent to be considered truant?

Q What are final exam exemptions and how can a student qualify for them?


Q What will be allowed as an excused absence?


The following absences are considered excused absences:
1. Personal illnesses that do not exceed four consecutive days. Illnesses that extend beyond four days will require a doctor's note.
2. Documented health care appointment, if the student begins classes or returns to school on the same day as the appointment
3. Observance of religious holy days
4. Family emergency
5. Juvenile court proceeding documented by a probation officer
6. Required screening, diagnosis, and treatment for Medicaid-eligible students
7. Board-approved extracurricular activity
8. Temporary absence resulting from any cause acceptable to the principal or superintendent.


It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to call the school each day regarding the student absence to explain the reason. Absences not cleared within 72 hours will be considered unexcused.

 

Q What will be considered an unexcused absence?


Any absence not listed above will be considered an unexcused absence. Examples of unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, class cuts, car trouble, over sleeping, personal business, vacation, etc.

 

Q Can students make up work for both excused and unexcused absences?


Yes, students can make up work for both excused and unexcused absences. However, when the absence is determined to be "unexcused," 30 points will be deducted each day from assignments missed due to unexcused absences. top

 

Q Will students need a doctor's note every time they are absent due to illness? top


When a student's absence for personal illness exceeds four consecutive days, the student must present a statement from a physician or health clinic verifying the illness or other condition requiring the student's extended absence from school. The principal and/or attendance committee may, if the student has established a questionable pattern of absences, also require a physician's or clinic's statement of illness after a single day's absence as a condition of classifying the absence as one for which there are extenuating circumstances. top

 

Q Can students miss school because of a death in the family or other such emergency?


Yes, a death in the family and other such emergencies are included in the list of excused absences. top

 

Q What happens if a parent is ill and cannot take their child to school?


Circumstances such as parent illness will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the student's principal in determining whether the absences will be excused or unexcused. top

 

Q How do we take family vacations during the school year?


Family vacations need to be taken during scheduled breaks, as denoted on the official school calendar. Texas Statute does not allow a student to be absent from school for vacation during instructional days. top

 

Q Who approved this new attendance policy?


The District's Board of Trustees approved the attendance policy, with input from campus principals and central office staff. top

 

Q Why was this new attendance plan adopted?


The new attendance plan was adopted because of the District's belief that good attendance equals high achievement. The best way for HEB ISD students to be prepared for the increased academic requirements facing all Texas students is to be in school each day so they have full access to instruction in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). top

 

Q Is there a district-wide problem with attendance that caused this plan to be adopted?


An analysis of student absences for the 2001-2002 school year indicated that there were a significant number of students who had excessive absences and overall, district attendance percentages have declined over the past several years. top

 

Q Are tougher academic standards the only reason this plan was adopted?


Tougher academic standards are the primary reason for the revisions to the District's student attendance policies. A secondary reason is the loss in state revenue to the District. State funding for Texas public schools is based on the average daily attendance of all students enrolled in the District. top

 

Q What is the compulsory school attendance law?


A student between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school and District-required tutorial sessions unless the student is otherwise legally exempted or excused. A student who voluntary attends or enrolls after his/her eighteenth birthday is required to attend school each school day. Upon enrollment in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, a child must attend school. The District may initiate withdrawal of a student for non-attendance if the student has been absent 20 consecutive school days, or repeated efforts by the District truant officer and/or principal to locate the student have been unsuccessful, or if a student 18 years or older has more than five unexcused absences in one semester or trimester. A student shall not receive credit for a class or school year unless the student has maintained a minimum of 90% attendance in that semester/trimester. top

 

Q Can a student lose credit in a class or be retained for too many absences?


A student in grades 1-8 may not receive credit and may not be promoted if he/she has been in attendance fewer than 90% of the 177 school days. Students in grades 9-12 who do not maintain 90% attendance in each class per semester/trimester may not be promoted or receive credit for a semester/trimester course. Attendance is recorded each grading period and reported as part of the report card. top

 

Q What happens if a student cannot meet the 90% to receive credit or be promoted?


After absences exceed the number allotted in a semester/trimester, the student and parent will be notified in writing by the school administration that the student may be assigned an alternative learning activity (ALA) to ensure compliance with the state's required attendance percentage. For every absence thereafter, the student will complete an alternative learning activity to support his or her appeal to the attendance committee, if it is deemed appropriate by the campus administrator. top

 

Q How do I complete the attendance appeals process?


Parents/guardians of students who have accumulated more absences than allowed for class credit must present a written appeal for extenuating circumstances to the Campus Attendance Committee appointed by the principal and authorized by the Board of Trustees. After the review of all pertinent documents (written verification of alternative learning activity/extenuating circumstances) and information, the Campus Attendance committee may grant a student the opportunity to regain credit by meeting designated requirements. The student shall assume the primary responsibility for all documentation being furnished to the attendance committee for review. Students whose petitions for credit are denied may appeal the Campus Attendance Committee's decision, in writing, to the Central Office Administrative Committee within two days of the receipt of the Campus Attendance Committee hearing decision notice. The student or the student's parent(s) may appeal in writing the Central Office Administrative Committee decision to the Board within two days of receipt of the Central Office notice. Responsibility for requesting consideration of extenuating circumstances rests with the student and his/her parent/guardian. top

 

Q How many times do students have to be absent to be considered truant?


A student absent from school without an excuse for ten (10) or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three (3) or more days or parts of days within a four-week period is considered truant and in violation of compulsory attendance laws. The parent is subject to prosecution (TEC, Sec. 24.0939) if the student fails to comply with attendance laws. The student is subject to prosecution (TEC, Sec. 24.094) or referral to juvenile court is he/she fails to attend school as required by law. top

 

Q What are final exam exemptions and how can a student qualify for them?


Students with outstanding attendance can be exempt from taking a certain number of final exams at the end of the semester (junior high) or trimester (high school). Students earn tickets, which exempt them from the exams. Students and parents should inquire for more details at their school.

 

For more information, please refer to the On-line Board Policy Manual.